School: University of Illinois
Link: Subsistence Marketplaces
Start Date: June 9, 2014 (8 Weeks Long)
Workload: 4-6 Hours Per Week
Instructor: Madhu Viswanathan
Credentials: After earning his Ph.D. in marketing in 1990, Viswanathan joined the faculty of the University of Illinois, where he currently teaches courses in research methods, subsistence, and sustainability. Viswanathan also spearheads the university’s Subsistence Marketplace Initiative, which delivers ground up business solutions to helping the most impoverished marketplaces. He also founded the Marketplace Literacy Project, a non-profit that provides educational materials and training for helping the poor start small businesses. He has earned numerous awards for his research, teaching, and humanitarianism.
Graded: Students will earn a signed certificate from the instructor for successfully finishing the course.
Description: How do you combat global poverty? In Viswanathan’s view, you implement entrepreneurial solutions based on the unique needs and practices of particular marketplaces. In this course, students learn how to design solutions that are both sustainable and viable to subsistence marketplaces. As part of this course, students watch “day in the life” videos of impoverished communities and complete exercises that help them better understand the limitations, relationships and cultural mores inherent to particular locales’ business climates. As a final project, students will develop an enterprise plan for a product that fulfills an impoverished community’s needs, including product design, marketing, and distribution.
Additional Notes: Texts will be provided for free as PDFs. The on-campus version of this course was ranked among the top entrepreneurship courses by Inc. magazine.